Age Versus Socialization in Understanding Attitudes Toward Economic Reforms in China Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2019 by the Southwestern Social Science Association Objective: The objective of this research is to address the roles of age and socialization in explanation for attitudes toward economic reforms in China. Method: Using data from the China Survey 2008 and the China Governance and Policy Survey of 2016, this note reports age/cohort-related differences in both abstract and concrete attitudes toward economic reforms, and addresses two competing (or complementary) explanations for those differences, one attributing differences to life cycle and the other attributing differences to the different environments within which Chinese adults were socialized. Results: While socialization/generation explanations seem to apply for the more abstract “market reform would bring chaos” attitudes, an age/life-cycle explanation alone seems sufficient to explain attitudes toward the more concrete subject of “privatization.”. Conclusion: Consistent with our literature-based theoretical expectations, “life cycle” tends to explain more concrete attitudes while “socialization”—in early and/or lifelong forms—is a more potent explanation for abstract attitudes.

author list (cited authors)

  • Harmel, R., Yeh, Y., & Liu, X.

citation count

  • 2

publication date

  • June 2019